The Christians Making Atheists

Growing-up in the Church, I was taught that the worst thing one could be was a non-believer; that nothing was as tragic as a doomed soul that condemned itself by rejecting God. The religion of my childhood drew a sharp, clear line between the saved and the damned. All that mattered was making sure someone found themselves on the better side of this line—and the Atheists and Humanists didn’t have a shot.

In light of this supposed truth, the heart of the faith (I was told), was to live in a way that reflected the character and love of Jesus so vividly, so beautifully, that others were compelled to follow after him; that a Christian’s living testimony might be the catalyst for someone’s conversion. The Bible called it “making disciples” and it was the heart of our tradition. As the venerable hymn declared, we Jesus people were to be known by our love.

What a difference a couple of decades make.

Just ask around. People outside the Church will tell you: love is no longer our calling card. It is now condemnation, bigotry, judgment and hypocrisy. In fact, the Christianity prevalent in so much of America right now isn’t just failing to draw others to Christ, it is actively repelling them from him. By operating in a way that is in full opposition to the life and ministry of Jesus—it is understandably producing people fully opposed to the faith that bears his name.

In record numbers, the Conservative American Church is consistently and surely making Atheists—or at the very least it is making former Christians; people who no longer consider organized religion an option because the Jesus they recognize is absent. With its sky-is-falling hand-wringing, its political bed-making, and its constant venom toward diversity, it is giving people no alternative but to conclude, that based on the evidence of people professing to be Godly—that God is of little use. In fact, this God may be toxic.

And that’s the greatest irony of it all; that the very Evangelicals who’ve spent that last 50 years in this country demonizing those who reject Jesus—are now the single most compelling reason for them to do so. They are giving people who suspect that all Christians are self-righteous, hateful hypocrites, all the evidence they need. The Church is confirming the outside world’s most dire suspicions about itself.

These people aren’t stupid. They realize that bigotry, even when it is wrapped in religion or justified by the Bible or spoken from a pulpit is still bigotry. They can smell the putrid stench of phony religion from a mile away—and this version of the Church, frankly reeks of it. People are steering clear in droves, choosing to find meaning and community and something that resembles love outside its gatherings.

With every persecution of the LGBTQ community, with every unprovoked attack on Muslims, with every planet-wrecking decision, with every regressive civil rights move—the flight from Christianity continues. Meanwhile the celebrity preachers and professional Christians publicly beat their breasts about the multitudes walking away from God, oblivious to the fact that they are the impetus for the exodus.

And one day soon, these same religious folks will look around, lamenting the empty buildings and the irrelevance of the Church and a world that has no use for it, and they’ll wonder how this happened. They’ll blame a corrupt culture, or the liberal media, or a rejection of Biblical values, or the devil himself—but it will be none of those things.

No, the reason the Church soon will be teetering on the verge of extinction and irrelevance, will be because those entrusted to perpetuate the love of Jesus in the world, lost the plot so horribly, and gave the world no other option but to look elsewhere for goodness and purpose and truth.

Soon these Evangelicals will ask why so much of America has rejected Jesus, and we will remind them of these days, and assure them that they have not rejected Jesus at all—they just found no evidence of him in their Church or in them.

Order John’s book, ‘A Bigger Table’ here.

 

655 thoughts on “The Christians Making Atheists

  1. Dear John and Friends, just yesterday i read a post from yet another one of those right-wing(nut) Pharisees. No compassion. Yeah, i realize the Lord’s Word is to be taken seriously, and that the Lord Jesus draws a hard line on things. But that same Lord Jesus Christ did not tell his followers to go around bashing sinners upside the head with the Bible. Any ‘Christian’ who comes off like he or she is above temptation and sin, has an agenda – and that agenda is about proclaiming self, not Christ.

    • Completely agree. John is stereotyping Christians and trying to put them all in a box. Much like saying the bigots who put together last year’s Charlottesville discraceful demonstration represent all white Caucasian people; completely inaccurate. Moreover, John describes the life of the Pharisees who Jesus rejected; not condoning their behavior. This is just another author trying to create controversy who inevitably fail because his tactics are not new and his approach is conjecture-based. Waste of my time discussing further.

      • You miss the point. SOME of the hate-mongerers in Charlottesvill called themselves Christian. SOME of the people like Jeff Sessions who tear families apart call themselves Christian. Most of the people who demand that old White men pass laws regulating young women’s bodies call themselves Christian. Ditto anti-Muslim. Ditto pro-war. Ditto anti-Obamacare. Ditto police brutality. Ditto Global Warming. The scourge of “Christianity” has destroyed our civilization leaving secularists, atheists, and followers of Jesus, Mohammed, Buddah, Moses, etc to pick up the pieces. Note: it was organized religion – not Pontius Pilate – that demanded the execution of Jesus. So too today of His Message.

        • Creating a straw man, John? I have never heard any Christian endorse police brutality or say Global Warming is a good thing or deny it is real. Someone’s failure to agree with every part of the liberal agenda does not make them a phony. Also, regulating a part of a women’s body, I suppose you mean trying to ban or discourage abortions. Are you OK with the number of abortions we have annually? I doubt God is. I am no fan of conservative evangelicals, but far too often, I find their critics to be lacking as well. Perhaps we could call for consistency in promoting life, holding police accountable when they break the law while also encouraging all citizens to obey the law and respect authority, and promote inclusion for those outside of the realms of power but at the same time stop demonizing all white men with money. In other words, you seem to be stereotyping those with whom you disagree–just like the evangelicals whom you criticize.

          • Trey, you MUST be delusional. I have nothing but comments from Christians supporting police brutality and denying global warming. You must be a Troll or intentionally dense.

          • Trey;
            If you believe in God the creator then he is the biggest abortionist of all – thousands of miscarriages yearly. (A defect in the biological system HE designed?).
            Give me a break.

          • Ryan, again, you’re missing the point. John isn’t saying that all Christians are phoney. He’s saying that the loudest voices that are pushing the worst abuses – vilifying asylum seekers, calling all Muslims terrorists, denying the importance of protecting our environment, persecuting the LGBTQ community – all of the worst offenders call themselves Christians. ALL of them. If there’s a self-professed atheist who’s calling women sluts for wanting health care plans to cover birth control like EVERY OTHER MEDICATION, then I haven’t seen it. As a Christian it appals me that the loudest, angriest voices wanting to deny civil rights to any other group are always the people who say we need to return to our Christian roots.

        • There is nothing so blasphemous as the KKK or white supremacists stating they are Christian. They are the antithesis of Christianity.

      • It doesn’t matter if they are just a loud minority, if they are perceived as representing the group and the rest of the group does not vocally slap them down and disassociate themselves with the hatefulness they you all get tarred with the same brush. You are arguing the “No True Scottsman” fallacy.

        • Excellent point. I really believe the tone and manner of our civil discourse would be greatly improved if more of us actually understood the common logical fallacies that people employ when they are attempting to deflect, to mislead, or to persuade via false pretenses.

          Once you recognize how fallacy is framed, you cannot be deluded by it.

      • Sorry, but his description is the vast majority of vocal Christians I’ve known since 90. I can’t count the number of vile, rabid “Christians” I’ve met. I’m one of those he talks about. I want nothing to do with Christianity as it’s become. Full of hate and bigotry. Nope. Not for me

      • I deal with racism on a daily basis. He is not putting all Caucasian people in a box. Racism is problem for both liberal and conservative whites, and I just left a church that seemed to welcome my diverse face on one hand, but then cozy up to Trump supporters in the other. If you have to vociferously defend that you aren’t racist. Guess what? You probably are.

        • Am I understanding you correctly? It sounds like you said the Church welcomed you, you consider yourself a “diverse face” so they welcomed some diversity, but they ALSO welcomed some Trump supporters, and THAT display of welcoming diversity was offensive to you, and you left them? I’m so sad that you were not able to enjoy a place that was ACTUALLY diverse. It would be hard for a church with some Trump supporters to become diverse if anyone who thinks differently won’t associate with them.

          • Just what does “being a Trump supporter” mean to you, Loralee? If it’s about “Making America Great Again”, then what does that mean to you?

      • Ryan, you must not get out much. The fastest growing religious group in the USA is “none of the above”. I know decent Christians, in fact I know a *lot* of them, but the megaphone of the megachurch and its monetized political machine has the look of those that Jesus scourged from the Temple.
        The megachurches spend millions of dollars demonizing and changing laws to persecute vulnerable women and minorities while they turn a blind eye to and aging Rake as President who spreads hate to the cheers of thousands of uneducated chumps at his rallies.
        People know one thing: God is not there.

      • As long as the majority of “Christians” endorse patently evil people like Donald Trump and Roy Moore, the less I can have anything to do with them. I think the phrase I’m looking for “there are none so blind as those who will not see.”

      • Ryan, the author IS A CHRISTIAN.
        If you don’t fit into this description of hypocrisy and weak personal morals while pretending to be acting on behalf of Christians then you shouldn’t be offended.

        Attitudes like yours are the problem. “Waste of my time discussing further.” Wrong.
        If you are a christ follower and people look to you to learn about Jesus and they can’t see Jesus because your walk is so crooked, then it is your responsibility and is absolutely worth your time.
        If you still don’t think it matters, then it’s apparent that your goals are only for you and not to advance the kingdom of God.

      • He distinguishes the hypocrites even the title “The Christians Making Atheists.” It’s not all Christians. What he expresses is negative because that is the focus. And it has great relevance
        as the focus.

    • I haven’t been to an organized church for many years. After this last election,too many of my Christian conservative relatives and friends didn’t see the hypocrisy in supporting trump. Many thought he was elected by god’s Hand and won’t hear a word different. No church for me. Jesus came for sinners like me. He didn’t find them in church either

  2. Sounding in from Florida to say that i was raised in the church- saved and baptized at age 5. went to the same church until i was 30. Then medical tragedy hit and i spent 2 months of my pregnancy in ICU and our preemie son spent a month in the NICU. Then a year and half later my husband is diagnosed with kidney cancer. All through that time i didnt go to church because i wasnt able to. I hav three people come see me and like 2 people come see my husband in the 6 months we ere fihgting his cancer and as he recoved from losing a kidney and a 17cm tumor. Then once we were ‘better’ no once came, no one ever called, no one brought meals, no one checked in on us. Hurt htat the church i spent 30 years at almost couldnt be there for us and hwne i tried going back a few times over the last few years its felt like im being judged for not being around. Thats not the love of God I know and thats not the love of God i have in me. That is not my Jesus nor my faith,

    • Sad but true. In my opinion, organized religion has failed but my Faith is still in Jesus Christ!

  3. Great article, John! This is so true. I stopped calling myself a Christian numerous years ago for this very reason. I’d rather my life be the example of what I believe rather than it attached to any one religion. It’s sad that Christianity has become known to be associated with so much hate and bigotry, but it’s been like that since the beginning. We just never heard about it because we didn’t have the technology that we do today. I know there are many people who do call themselves Christian and they do live the teachings of Jesus, so we do need to be careful of making any blanket statements. But from what we hear in the media, it seems that all we’re hearing is the hate, and that’s sad.

  4. Perfectly put.
    You could not have written a more accurate, more eloquent, more perfect reflection of the impressions of this atheist-leaning agnostic.
    And I find it very sad, because I’m also perfectly aware of how strong a force for good the various churches in America (and around the world) have been (supporters of abolition and the civil rights movement; part of the peace movements in the US & elsewhere) — as well as, of course, sources of unspeakable evil (the crusades, various genocides and ethnic cleansings; child and women abuse scandals).
    The association — willful, deliberate, purposeful, and cynical — of much of the evangelical community with the right-wing of our country helped, for a while, strengthen both.
    Now, it’s just helping to doom the religious community to faster dissolution here.
    As Europe is, so America will be.
    It didn’t have to be this way.
    Thanks for writing this.

  5. Excellent, John.

    This is precisely why they lost me.

    I could not square up their cruelty towards the transgender community of which I am a part…with the love of Jesus.

    So I left.

    I find I do not need organized religion, nor a building…to have Jesus.

    When two or more are gathered in my name, there also shall I be.

    The Christian Church can take their bigotry, prejudice, meanness, cruelty and hate…and peddle it somewhere else, I have no use for it.

    They are CINO (Christian In Name Only) and I have no use for the lot of them.

    • Just commenting to say I support the transgender and LGBTQ communities and hope you’re happy and have supportive people around you!

      This kind of bigotry and frankly bad Xtian dogma around relationships and sex were part of why I left xtianity, I’d rather aknowledge other human beings looking to find love and empathy, living their lives truthfully and expressing that in diverse ways than continue to believe there is only one way to be for everyone.

      Solidarity!
      =8)-DX

  6. Matthew 25: 12, “Truly I say to you, I do not know you!”
    There are a lot of self proclaimed ministers & televangelists I feel may need to look at!

  7. After 30 some years working in a very progressive church, I’ve had my share of debates with both atheists and evangelicals. There are boneheads at both ends. The truth is those ranting people you describe are not representing the majority of Christians. The tragedy is most people outside the church believe they do. The solution?

    I have started to name preaching hate in any form as ‘gospel’ is heresy. When we who want to show God’s love in church begin naming hate as heresy it will create sufficient fuss that people will see the church is a complex, divided, broken institution, but one which on a good day, points toward grace.

  8. This is perfectly written. I am Atheist and let me tell you: what I have seen from Christians the last two years, has never made me feel so wholesome and good and honest and kind as right now.

  9. I have really started my Christian journey hard with the last year. Going through the Old Testament I find to be one of the most f’d up books.I have read. … selling a family member off to slavery, slaves to respect their masters, gays being put to death…. and they call this a book of love?

    I want to believe there is a higher power out there but what do you do when you don’t subscribe to the actual book that is the core of your religion. I was thinking of you aren’t really supposed to pick and choose?

    My wife’s best friend is gay. Just went to a church where they gave two options… celibacy or as I took interpreted it “ praying the gay away”

    My heart hurts trying to make a decision to abandon my faith because of the teaching. Sadly two, most of my freakin end that have fully excepted Christ would be the last on my list to ask for help if I was stranded.

    I just don’t know anymore!

    • Our faith is not to be put into other people, it is to trust God with our lives and exalt him. People are fallible. Christians are not perfect and that is why we need Jesus. I want to encourage you to pray.
      I too have many gay people in my life and it is not my place to judge them. I choose the God of love, not the one of hate. Self-righteous Christians are doing a HUGE disservice to their communities and brothers and sisters in Christ. It makes me really sad.

    • Chuck – focus on the New Testament, then, not the Old Testament. The message of Jesus was love and tolerance. “Turn the other cheek”. Remember he kept company with the poor, with those outcast by society, the ill… There are good lessons there, whether one believes or not.

    • The Old Testament (OT) is indeed a f’d up book, and even as a believer of 38 years’ standing, I still consider it to be a textbook on how not to do faith.

      The problem, apart from the usual infallibility/inspiration/inerrancy argument, is that people read the OT while forgetting that the New Testament (NT) was ever written. Nowadays, we who have the NT have no excuse for reading the OT in the same way that ancient peoples would have done, because we have the NT to show us a) what it means, and b) where they got it wrong. More specifically, we have Jesus as our Guide. If I see something in the OT that does not jive with Jesus, then I do not consider myself bound by that Scripture passage.

      Remember also that Jesus is the centre of our faith, not the Bible. No matter what the fundagelicals might claim, it’s perfectly possible to believe in Jesus without believing in the Bible. He is alive independently of the Scriptures, and is perfectly capable of making Himself known to people without the Bible to help Him. He’s kinda capable of much more than that too 🙂

      Hope this helps.

      • Both the Old Testament and New Testament need to be read through the eyes of the audience it was intended. Realizing that the Bible in its entirety is written using different types of literary genera. The wisdom of the books can truly guide us in this time of chaos and confusion with its clear message of love and forgiveness. May God continue to guide you in your walk with Him. You never walk alone.

      • Should there be a difference between the Bible and the person of Jesus (God coming to earth as human)? I think not. We know that ALL Scripture is God-breathed and useful for making us more like Jesus. I do fully agree with you that we now see the OT through the lense of Grace (the NT). Let’s keep pressing in, encouraging each other as we do, because we can all use more of that in our lives!

    • I would like to help you Chuck! I don’t know if this will or not—you don’t have to “choose” the way they tell you. Can you accept that you don’t know? Can you believe that there is much more that we don’t know than we know? And that the unknown—whom I believe is God—holds up the known? Paul said “now we see in a glass, dimly”—there is no need to rush to judgment. Paul said too “I live the life I have here now by faith in the Son of God.” He didn’t say we have to know. When Jesus said “I am the Truth, the Way, and the Life, no man comes to the Father but through me,” that doesn’t have to be interpreted narrowly. Each of those words, truth, way, life, are broad and general. Here is another thing that has helped me through the years as I have left fundamentalist, evangelical churches, but remained a Christian—stories like what you read in the Old Testament are not meant to be taken literally! They are stories! Guidance, but not law. Even Jesus said he came to fulfill the law, he said the greatest commandment was to
      Love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. Take heart! Look to the ground of your being! Is it not in Him through whom you live and move and have your being?
      Forgive me for jumping around in my thoughts and not quoting Scripture very accurately. I heard your confusion and even despair— May this reach you and help you as you search for your way forward! Peace and Grace to you!

  10. No one is perfect. Some Christians are hypocrites. God is real. God’s love for all human beings is so great it cannot be measured. Jesus lived as a man and knows our struggles because he had then too. Jesus died so that we could be reconciled to God. No one is perfect, but God loves us imperfect as we are. No one is perfect, but when we turn to Jesus we become a work in progress. We thank God for the hope we have of being with him forever. God is almighty, God is eternal, God is love.

    • That “God loves us imperfect as we are” is a great rationale for not behaving in a Christ-like manner, or at least trying. The evangelicals and the Southern Baptists are tweaking the Gospels and more to suit their bigoted lives.

  11. As someone who grew up in the liberal church in the UK, and who later became an atheist after coming to the US, I have to call into question John’s thesis that the right-wing fundamentalists are to blame for the fall in the numbers of Christian believers we are seeing to today in America.

    British right-wing fundamentalist Christianity has never had the strength or prominence their brethren in the USA have enjoyed over the last 40 years, and yet Christianity has been on the decline there for decades, with only a tiny percentage of the UK population left as active believers. The average age of the congregation of my parents’ church must be pushing 70, and that is typical of most mainstream churches around the nation.

    Similar declines have been seen around Western Europe as young people shed the traditions of their forefathers and no longer feel the need to attend church, or ensure their children get a religious education. For the most part, this has all come about gradually and organically in the absence of any demonization from reactionary right-wing religious forces.

    So the real question is, why has the USA been so late to the party? Why did the Christian church continue to prosper here so much longer than in just about every other western democratic nation on the planet?

    I would argue that it is the strength and depth of right-wing fundamentalism that has sustained the numbers as other nations went into decline. The sense of outrage created by the culture war that John Pavlovitz blames on today’s falling away has been the very thing that has kept the conservative Christian churches so healthy over the last 50 years.

    Stirring up continued outrage over abortion, gay marriage, and other “liberal values” has allowed the right-wing Christian church to portray themselves as the last line of defense against the destruction of white conservatives in America. It has also allowed traditional religious conservative foes (Mormons, Catholics, and Protestant Fundamentalists) to join forces in that battle.

    In the meantime, the mainline Christian congregations have been bearing the brunt of the steady decline in numbers in religious observance over the last 30 years, and the large majority of that decline is due to young people failing to continue in the religious traditions of their parents — i.e. the same cause seen in other western nations in previous generations.

    There is little doubt that the trend away from the church is accelerating, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the rank hypocrisy and appalling behavior of many right-wing fundamentalists in Trump’s America is contributing somewhat, but the demographic trend toward secularization is the main cause, and always has been, as each subsequent generation continues to find organized religious increasingly irrelevant to their lives.

    As for a solution? I have no idea, but even if the white evangelical church has a come-to-Jesus moment tomorrow, the trend toward a secular America will continue as before.

    • Really intriguing insight, Tacitus. I want to thank you for sharing it and ask if you would be willing to share more insights or further discuss things via email.

  12. “With every persecution of the LGBTQ community, with every unprovoked attack on Muslims, with every planet-wrecking decision, with every regressive civil rights move—the flight from Christianity continues.”
    Christians did what now? And we supposed to hang our heads in shame, nod sagely and accept *collective responsibility* for stuff no other group is accused of; how does that even work?

    • well, what about not wanting to be linked with these awful people who claim to be christians, and saying out loud that they are not christ followers at all, and showing real support to lgbt+, migrants, muslims, the poors…… it may surprise you, but it actually works!

  13. Born in the mid 50’s, I was raised to go to church and went to Christian Schools most of my life. Because I dared question anything, I was seen as a troublemaker or not believing enough. I came from an abusive family and I could pray my way out of it, because the fact that God wanted me to have this experience was it cuz I didn’t believe in him enough. These were all things that I was told. In my early twenties I went to numerous altar calls because I thought I had been doing it wrong the whole time and I wasn’t doing it well enough according to the churches. I was judged for being a mouthpiece poor people who were not as Godly as everybody else, and if we would have been in Salem Massachusetts, I would have probably been burned at the stake.

    Somewhere in my thirties, I started calling myself agnostic, even though I was still trying to attend church once in awhile. Then I stopped going. The more I studied, the more I learned, and the more I started rejecting the idea of a God, but that knowledge was higher power. I consider myself spiritual, but I am an atheist now. I want nothing to do with any organized religion that believes that it is okay to treat people Like crap and get away with it. And I know all of the arguments, because I was a very Devout proselytizing Evangelical and won a lot of souls to Jesus.

    A dear friend of mine who was a youth pastor for Youth for Christ, who is a very devout Christian man, and shows the kind of love and kindness that I believe Jesus of Nazareth taught, told me that I am ” the most Christian non-Christian… Has ever known.” I know he meant that as a compliment.

    I have read quite a lot of what you have written, and so much of it resonates with me. I have just recently followed you on Twitter. Thank you for the wrongness of what you say. I still am an atheist, but it’s nice to know that some of those who are believers understand what Jesus of Nazareth and other like-minded people of all faiths were trying to teach.

  14. Any organization presenting itself as being of the Sacred, claiming to know and teach the Christ mind is bound by the all-encompassing Love and total compassion of the Divine to accept without judgment and to love without condition. The failure of religious groups to exemplify that message has created the horrendous hypocrisy we see inflicted on so many in our world. I stood before a bishop of the Episcopal church a few years ago, responding to his invitation to address him following his open acceptance and support for the first openly gay Episcopal bishop. The so-called Christian community at large has failed for most of its history. I do not believe, nor will I ever accept the notion of the god presented by the many churches who do not practice, nor even preach, the message the Christ brought forward. On those terms, those christians would call me an atheist. So be it. I live in the Divine Presence every moment of every day, and, to quote one of my least favorite New Testament authors (Paul), “I know in Whom I believe…” and belief no longer is necessary. I know.

  15. My father was religious and raised in the Catholic church. He ended up being the head groundsman at the church, taking care of the grounds as well as all maintenance in the churce. My siblings and I never attended a service our entire childhood. when i asked him about it later on in life, he told me the reason they never brought us was because they wanted us to learn about it on our own and make our own decision on religion.. I asked him again years later and he clued me in. My aunt had been deathly ill and after asking, the father/priest or whatever from their church visited at the hospital for a bedside prayer and possible last rights. He made a point to call them out on their lack of attendance and lack or donation to the church during this time. He was looking for money while my Aunt was on the verge of dying. My grandfather threw him out and that was the end of organized religion for my family.

  16. I have several wonderful friends who are atheists. One describes herself as a “recovering Catholic.” All the atheists I know are more ethical and caring than a lot of Christians out there who are just flat-out mean and hateful.

  17. All you seem to be saying is that the Democrats are obviously right about everything, so the fact that most white evangelicals are Republican is morally obscene.

    There are some grumpy Christians. But most I personally know, who take their faith seriously, are charitable, kind, and changing the world in a positive way.

    Yet damnably, most of us just don’t agree with the Democratic Party about much! Take this paragraph for example:

    “With every persecution of the LGBTQ community, with every unprovoked attack on Muslims, with every planet-wrecking decision, with every regressive civil rights move—the flight from Christianity continues. Meanwhile the celebrity preachers and professional Christians publicly beat their breasts about the multitudes walking away from God, oblivious to the fact that they are the impetus for the exodus.”

    (1) What evidence is there that Christians in general are “persecuting” homosexuals in America today? Is not wishing to bake a cake for a homosexual “wedding” what you mean by persecuting? I see it as just the other way around: driving someone out of business because they can’t participate in your belief that two men can and should solemnly mate, is the real bigotry and hatred. Wishing not to participate should be a clear matter of conscience: charitable people should not force such participation.

    (2) What “unprovoked attack on Muslims?” In fact, over the past 20 years, Muslims who constitute a tiny minority in America, have killed thousands of innocent Christians and other Americans. How many Muslims, who are one would think a vulnerable minority, been killed by Christians in America? This appears to be a singularly twisted lie, the exact opposite of the truth.

    (3) What “planet wrecking decision?” Does the author drive a car?

    (4) What “regressive civil rights move?” The author again simply seems to assume that the Left is right whenever it opens its mouth.

    People are free to leave Christianity, if they rightly perceive it fails to support the notion that two men or two women can and should mate. Sorry, we don’t give in to every wind of social fad. When a daft new idea comes from the Left, or Right for that matter, and tells us to jump, believers who have reason for their faith do not automatically ask “How high?”

    If you want to mold a religion in your own image, feel free. People have been doing that for centuries. Christianity, I think, is true. Part of the Christian faith is indeed love, but love doesn’t mean acquiescing to every silly and harmful notion people come up with. Often it means saying, “I disagree. That is wrong.”

    Jesus is Lord. Not me. Not you. If you don’t wish to let Him be so, it’s a free country. Follow Buddha. Or Marx. Or Steven Pinker. Or whatever liberating novelties suggest themselves to you as ultimate truth, swirling out of the abyss where the Spirit of the Age stirs her cauldron.

    If you wish to remain my friend while following the wrong guru in what I perceive as the wrong direction, I will be happy to continue the friendship. But don’t blame me for continuing to believe what I perceive as true.

    Dr. David Marshall

    Author, Jesus is No Myth: Fingerprints of God on the Gospels

    • Dr. David Marshall — thank you so much for an EXCELLENT response!! I had the exact same reaction to this article! The liberal left demand everyone to automatically not only accept their chosen lifestyles, and THEIR way of viewing our crumbling society — but to cheer, embrace, and celebrate it!! And if we do not, we are branded as “haters.” Their hypocrisy is glaring. I was taught through my Church to “love the sinner, but hate the sin.” And there is nothing wrong with that. I was taught from early on that the only way satan can hurt God is by turning His children away from Him. It is clear satan is alive and well — and as society becomes more hateful, hypocritical and immoral, while giving into every temptation, many fools have abandoned their faith in Jesus to fully embrace the downward spiral, as they play into satan’s hands, allowing themselves to be ripped from God.

  18. There are still a lot of Christ followers, some of them clinging warily to congregations that include people who use the name Christian to gain earthly power or who admire (a few to the point of worshipping) those who do, some of them organizing into groups where all are welcomed, but bigotry is not a thing, some trying to remain faithful without a real-world fellowship, finding comfort in virtual brothers and sisters, fellow travelers. America’s late-day version of Christianity will not survive but Jesus followers will. He Himself said that the road is narrow, few will find it, and it is especially hard for rich people.

  19. Born cradle Catholic…the “universal church” as it likes to call itself. Baptized, observed my first confession, first Holy Communion, and was Confirmed. I left when the pontiff told me I was objectively disordered, and morally corrupt. Simply for loving another man in a way others don’t feel. When I left I found a truth I hold to. I would rather live my life without thought of any reward for the good that I do, because doing good, and loving others should be it’s own reward. Keep your golden palaces and your jeweled crowns. A smile and a happy heart are all the treasure I require.

  20. “Soon these Evangelicals will ask why so much of America has rejected Jesus, and we will remind them of these days, and assure them that they have not rejected Jesus at all—they just found no evidence of him in their Church or in them.”

    This is why his words aren’t even more widely shared. If only he’d write to unite rather than magnify divisiveness. The underlying belief that Jesus is all but unapparent within organized religion resonates so clearly with me. But this kind of delivery bothers me. Where is the Jesus in claiming that last paragraph?

  21. Nothing in the article is new. The church is made of people and people of flesh. The Apostle Paul reprimands the church many times throughout his letters. Christian means follower of Jesus. Christianity is all about Jesus and faith in Him. People who rebuke Christianity because of people seem to be missing the point, as I have in the past. Of course people are hypocrites, greedy, liars, ect. If we were not Jesus would not have had to die for us. If you have a big problem with a church then you should find a different church. If a church causes you to rebuke Christianity you are following people of the church, not Jesus.

  22. Pingback: The Impetus For The Exodus | Flying in the Spirit

  23. There may be some truth to the central claim of this article but I think it lacks to address the complexity of the issue. Yes, I was repelled by the immorality and lack of human empathy I saw in the church but it’s not why I left and it’s not why I’m an atheist. While the character of Jesus is largely opposed to the type of Christian described in the Bible, the Bible itself is not. It a full of anti LGBT rhetoric, sex-negativity, and outright violence towards people who are anyone other than the chosen group. I rejected Christianity not because Christians didn’t reflect my values, but because the Bible doesn’t and because there simply isn’t the evidence to back up the supernatural claims of the religion. Most atheists I know would say the same.

  24. Yes. Most of them have abandoned religion but not faith. I was an atheist for many years after surviving my own insane cult-like experience involving religion as a crutch and a delusion that facilitated abuse and neglect during a nightmarish childhood.

    Another factor in my case is the conflict between religion and reason and science. See such realities as overpopulation, oceans full of plastic, and the disastrous effects of global warming that become palpably worse from one year to the next.

    At some point in my journey as I gave myself a crash course on how science (That gives us stuff like computers.) explains our existence, I tried removing religion, specifically, from the big questions. I found that faith in itself does not conflict with reason and science at all.

    Be sure to rake your forests while Rome burns.

  25. Thank you for this post, it shows great perspective. The people chiming in here that ‘all Christians are not like that’ are missing the whole point. As the saying goes, one bad apple can spoil the bunch – especially when the bad apples are church leaders, TV personalities or political pundits. They’re the ones we see.

    I have to say that one of the biggest problems – and the thing that has pushed me farthest from the church – is involvement in national politics. I can understand (a little bit) if the church feels the need to weigh in on particularly relevant issues (although even here, where is the scriptural precedent for this?). But when you have entire factions of the church buying into entire platforms of a particular party – especially one filled with hate and greed – you no longer represent a Christ as recognizable in the scriptures. And I personally don’t validate your identity as Christians in these cases.

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